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Mark Simonson

November 30, 2013

Railroad, related developments expanded Oneonta in 1863


The streets referred to are part of the present Center Street and Church Street, respectively. Center Street was extended eastbound in later years. The road to Laurens mentioned is West Street, which eventually leads to the Laurens town line. Church Street was originally known as Centre Street, while today’s Center Street was known as Brook Street, as seen on an 1868 village map.

Huntington owned property where the library and park are today and a bit farther west on Chestnut Street. The lot extended well north, and his hope was to develop the lot, as reported on Nov. 25.

“That part of the village is destined to become thickly settled. We should think it would be a good idea for some of our moneyed men to build a few houses to rent, houses are scarce and rent high.”


In recent years with the growth of local microbreweries, there have been signs in our region of the return to growing hops, a cash crop that was plentiful and profitable in the 19th century. Additional crops for brewing beer have also been discussed to be grown locally.

From the Dec. 9, 1863, Herald it was told, “We understand that Richard A. Lesley, Esq. recently Proprietor of the Otsego Brewery at Cooperstown, has made a purchase of a plot of land and intends soon to erect a building for the purpose of manufacturing Ale in this village.” The site wasn’t specified.

“And here it is again! It does seem as if there is no business that can be started but that it will benefit the farmer, (and we are glad of it.) It is well known that a Brewery uses a large quantity of Barley, and as this kind of grain has not been marketable hereabouts it has not been raised by our farmers. But now a market will be opened, as Barley is a good paying crop for a farmer to raise, we advise them to sow a piece of Barley in the Spring and they will find a ready market for it.”

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Mark Simonson

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